Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Crime and Poverty

Not surprising to find that those who come from poor neighborhoods are less likely to receive a suspended sentence.

The relatively high imprisonment rates of African American men from poor neighborhoods raise a question of whether felony sentences are influenced by ecological factors, separately from or in conjunction with a defendant's race. To provide insight on the topic, both legal and extralegal effects on imprisonment and sentence length were modeled for nearly 3,000 convicted felons from more than 1,000 census tracts in Ohio. Neighborhood effects were estimated with empirical bayes coefficients as outcomes, derived from hierarchical analyses, to adjust for the small ratio of defendants to tracts. Findings revealed that convicted felons from more disadvantaged neighborhoods were more likely to receive nonsuspended prison sentences, whereas a defendant's race was unrelated to imprisonment. By contrast, neighborhood disadvantage was unrelated to sentence length for imprisoned defendants, whereas African Americans received significantly shorter terms relative to Whites. The processes through which ecological context may operate to affect sentence severity are discussed.

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